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Frequently asked questions

Who is the Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme for?

Start-ups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, individuals and teams, scientists, clinicians, PhD candidates and anyone with an innovative idea looking to develop or grow their business or business idea.  

Unlike other programmes, we don’t require you to be a registered SME, sole trader or other entity. It is you and your ideas we’re interested in developing in line with our overall aim to improve healthcare quality outcomes with innovations.  

What does it cost?

There is no cost to participants. The Accelerator is fully funded by the Oxford AHSN to develop promising teams with innovative approaches to improve healthcare quality outcomes. We ask for your time and commitment to develop your proposition, nothing more. 

What business sector are you looking for?

Innovations or innovative approaches that aim to improve healthcare quality outcomes. Teams or individuals may already have an innovative application or business proposition in the healthcare and life sciences sector or at the intersection of health and energy, IT, telecommunications, finance, transport or space.   

Do I have to live in a certain area to qualify?

The programme will be delivered in the rich entrepreneurial area of Reading, Berkshire and south Oxfordshire. Your location is less important than your ability to attend and participate in this region.   

Tell me more about the Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme?

The 2020 programme is split into five stages – see details below: 

  1. Commercialisation workshops  
  2. Market discovery pre-accelerator  
  3. Pitch day  
  4. Accelerator programme  
  5. Final pitch day

STAGE ONE – Commercialisation workshops

The Commercialisation workshops have already taken place for this year. These workshops will provide an introduction to key concepts for early and mid-stage businesses and prepare teams and individuals for stage two. 

STAGE TWO – Market discovery pre-accelerator

The market discovery pre-accelerator runs for three days on 8, 9, 10 September followed by four weeks of further refinement of your proposition with mentors and advisers.

In the Market discovery pre-accelerator you’ll explore the commercial viability of your idea with the coaches, mentors and investment team. Applying the tools and techniques learnt during the three-day workshop, you’ll then spend four weeks in customer and market discovery shaping your business model before returning to pitch for one of the limited number of places on the programme.  

In the four weeks after the pre-accelerator, teams will meet and work with their mentor at least once a week to develop their proposition. Expect to commit at least four hours per week on developing this aspect in preparation for stage three.

STAGE THREE – Pitch day

The pitch days (by invitation only) on 28 September will be the opportunity to show off all your hard work in refining your proposition over the course. A mix of industry mentors drawn from the Oxford AHSN and BioCity networks, and from the wider Berkshire/Oxfordshire area will judge the propositions and make recommendations for those who will go on to the full Accelerator programme (Stage Four).  

STAGE FOUR – Accelerator programme

From 5 October the Accelerator programme coaches and mentors will continue to work with the most promising teams. This eight-week programme will require one day a week going through a series of increasingly demanding and informative developments, to produce a fully viable business venture.   

You’ll learn how to:  

  • do ‘lean start-up’, a set of highly effective tools and processes specifically tailored to the healthcare and life sciences industry  
  • identify gaps in your business, evaluate risks and create a business model that stands up to the scrutiny of potential investors, partners and customers.   

Once a week you will be required to either meet with your dedicated coach, attend a lesson or complete an activity. We’ll introduce you to a network of key industry figures, senior executives, investors and entrepreneurial peers throughout the programme, so you hit the ground running.  

STAGE FIVE – Final pitch day

At the final pitch day on 27  November, all the participants in the Accelerator programme will be invited to hear the final teams present to an impressive panel of investment and industry heavyweights. The most promising ventures will have the opportunity to receive pre-seed/seed capital through the BioCity Investment Fund/Network and other industry funds.  

Why should you participate?

The Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme, in collaboration with BioCity and regional partners from the NHS, industry and research within the Thames Valley, offers a launchpad for entrepreneurs and their ventures at every stage, from idea to market.   

Our Accelerator offers a lifeline approach to grow your entrepreneurial spirit. Our Accelerator is not constrained by external restrictions on who can participate and who can develop. If you have a great proposition, we’ll help you develop it.  

We have a collaborative, transformative partnership platform to speed up and scale up impact on health quality outcomes through innovation.  

Our partners bring a strong and proven network of future-engaged mentors and coaches driving sustainable growth.  

What’s in it for you?

You’ll discover a bigger health opportunity arc and fast-track routes to funding for commercialisation, scale-up and impact.   

  • You’ll work with like-minded teams developing innovative and sustainable business models with health and cross-industry mentors.  
  • We’ll guide you on your commercial path to validate approaches, to de-risk product innovation, to plan go-to-market and sales readiness for your proposition.  
  • You’ll be part of an Accelerator empowering future leaders’ for maximum positive impact on healthcare outcomes.  

What is the Oxford AHSN?

The Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN) gets innovation into clinical practice to improve patient safety, outcomes and experience, and generate economic growth through collaboration between the NHS, industry and universities. It covers a region of three million people living in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire. 

The Oxford AHSN is part of the national AHSN Network, linked into a unique collaborative of expertise and experience, sharing best practice, and benefiting from a pipeline of emerging and proven solutions from around the country. 

Who are BioCity?

BioCity’s mission is to enable entrepreneurs to meet the world’s healthcare challenges. To achieve this, a sophisticated infrastructure has been developed to provide the specialist ingredients entrepreneurs need to grow a successful high-tech business: skills development, funding, facilities and business support. Founded over 15 years ago, BioCity is the largest and most experienced organisation in the UK focused on this field. For the first time, BioCity brings their skills and expertise to the Thames Valley to develop businesses.